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User Manuals: A Cheatsheet for Powerful Team Collaboration

Published on February 9, 2021

Have you ever wished that there was a playbook on how to bring out the best out in your team? What if you had a cheatsheet or “user manual” covering each person’s quirks, pet peeves, or communication style? Whether you’re hopping into a new team or just want to better gel with your existing one, imagine how great and powerful team collaboration would be if everyone knew these small key insights about each other!

In this week’s Innovation Hour, we’re challenging you to create your own personal “User Manual” to share with your team.

What’s Innovation Hour?

Sometimes, it can be easy to fall into a comfortable box at work – you focus on just your work and stay only inside your bubble (ex. HR, tech, research, client outreach, etc.). Obviously, focusing on your work is by no means a bad thing. But when you only think and communicate only on topics within your bubble 40 hours a week, 50 out of 52 weeks a year, it can really stifle a person’s curiosity and creativity.

So we started hosting Innovation Hour, a bi-weekly hour dedicated to our entire team exploring new topics, exercising our innovation muscles, and widening our perspectives. We’ve covered a wide scope of topics: a TED Talk on creative confidence, climate change, living wage, and more. Our Talent, Culture, and Performance Strategy was actually born during an Innovation Hour session!

As we’ve shared what Innovation Hour is with our friends and clients, we’ve been met with resounding excitement and interest. To help you host your own Innovation Hour with your teams, we’ll be sharing prompts and resources to help kick off discussions. We can’t wait to hear where your team’s creativity and passion takes you!

Download the full high-resolution pdf

Innovation Hour: Scenario

Create a one-page personal “User Manual” about yourself to help your colleagues better understand how best to work with you.

This is a User Manual about you that others can reference to better understand and collaborate with you. Normally, it can take months or years of careful observation and interaction to know how to best work with somebody. A User Manual will help drastically cut down the learning curve and help others avoid potential gaffs or making assumptions. So be honest with your answers to the following questions:

  • How do you like to get feedback?
  • What drives you nuts? How can other people earn an extra gold star with you?
  • What’s the best way to convince you to do something?
  • How do you like to be celebrated/rewarded?

Innovation Hour: Tools

We developed a 9 question framework to help you kickstart writing your own User Manual.

Want to share this Innovation Hour with your team? Download our free high-resolution card with all of the session info on it!

Innovation Hour: Extra reading

Enjoying this week’s topic and want to dive in deeper? Here are some other articles we found interesting and were inspired by:

What if you had to write a “user manual” about your leadership style?

Want to know me? Just read my user manual


Samantha Lee
Client Solutions in Communications and Content

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